There are no hard and fast rules to follow when it comes to getting a piercing, other than making sure you get it done somewhere reputable by a piercer who understands the importance of hygiene, of course.

But for anyone who's been toying with the idea of going under the needle, here are a few things worth considering beforehand.

1. Think about it

What seems cool now might not be so cool in a few years' time. Even though piercings can be removed with relative ease, make sure you've sat on the idea for a while. If you're convinced it's something you're happy to live with for the foreseeable future, regardless of changing fashions, it could be for you.

2. Is it the kiss of death in the workplace?

Loads of people have a piercing of some kind, but they're still not everyone's bag. Anything too visible (you know, like a Dennis Rodman-style double nose ring) might mean that people notice you in the office (or a job interview) for all the wrong reasons. So, if this is your first foray in the word of body modification, perhaps it's best to test the water with a subtle ear stud first.

3. Don't drink and pierce

We're not suggesting that everyone with a genital piercing had it done under the influence of a few pints, but getting a piercing like that on a drunken whim is extremely dangerous. Alcohol thins the blood, making you bleed more, and impairs your judgement, which means you might end up with a stud or bar through something you hadn't previously considered.

4. Word of mouth is king

Check out online forums for recommendations and ask your mates if they know any reputable places. A good piercer will probably ask you to make an appointment, rather than allowing you to wander in off the street, thereby eliminating the chance of you making any rash decisions.

5. Have fun

If you've thought it through, and you've found a trustworthy and fastidiously hygienic piercer, it's time to go. Whatever you get done, whether it's a nose ring, ear stud or you're going rogue with a pierced nipple, as long as you look after it properly, you should be a happy man.